Melanie Dugan was born Melanie Liljenquist in Tacoma, Washington. She has enjoyed art ever since she could hold a pencil. She received her first pet portrait commission at the age of 14 when her junior high home room teacher noticed her talent in art and hired her to do a painting of her two cats. She also won Most Outstanding Artist in her junior high that year. She attended BYU and minored in art which gave her exposure to working in a wide variety of media. Even with the broad experience base, she still prefers to work in pencil, though she has since added colored pencil. 

Artist's Statement

Ever since I can remember I have had a pencil in my hand. I have loved to draw since I was a little girl. I mostly drew animals then and I mostly draw animals today. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say, "A teacher or an artist." I have spent over 30 years as a teacher teaching many different things from Kindergarten to English Language Learners, from Preschool to Spanish Language Literacy--and even Art. Now I am making a career change and putting my focus on being an artist. I am fortunate to share that career with my talented husband, Greg. Together we share a studio and a vision. I love to draw animals from the whimsical to the realistic. I love to capture their personalities and add my own style to what I see, making it truly my own. I have explored many types of visual arts and have returned to my first love, the pencil. I still love to create in other media, but, I imagine, pencil will always be my favorite.